Published on October 18th, 2012 | by Jos Roder0
GKTech VicDrift Championship Round 2 – A Driver’s perspective
After a challenging but not unusual preparation before an event (see the preparation here), it was satisfying to have a memorable day driving a reliable car at Winton for Round 2 of the GKTech VicDrift Championship!
I normally attend competition rounds in Victoria as a judge so it was refreshing to ‘be judged’ for once. I much prefer being on the driving side of the fence that’s for sure!
My first few laps out on track were the sketchiest I think I have ever driven. I thought somehow one night my brain had shutdown and rebooted without any driving ability at all, which would have been catastrophic! Something didn’t feel right with the car (we had attempted a home alignment since Drift Supercup) but I could’t work out what was wrong.
Upon entering the pits after the first practice session, I noticed the temperature gauge was really high. I was perplexed by this as the car is nearly standard and has a large radiator. Pulling in to the pits, RJ and Geoff (my pit crew) got to work for me to identify the problem. We were quite sensitive on the subject of overheating as we have suffered some significant headaches with cooling the car on another disastrous event, however that is another post for another time. After some head scratching, Geoff tells us to look at the fan. It wasn’t even spinning at all! The shroud and radiator were sitting too low and had fallen on top of the blades, bringing the fan to a halt. This had in turn retarded the timing and made the car all of probably 50kws instead of 150kw. The car was a handful as it had too much grip for the new found….loss…of power. By the time we adjusted the fan it was at the end of practice session 2. This meant I had not completed one successful lap of the judged section ‘under drift’ and I was now heading straight into qualifying!
With the power level returned to its usual massive level, I had only my warm up lap to work out what speed I would need to enter the high speed sweeper and the flick back toward the hairpin with my new tyres. With the return of power I entered faster than any other lap I had attempted in the first practice and found out the tyres were still ‘green’ and probably not up to temperature resulting in me tracking wide to the outside of the exit of the sweeper. I had to either try to get the car back onto line and risk board sliding the larger kerb quickly approaching or bail out. I decided to bail. I then proceeded to show my best Mr Plow impersonation, scooping water as I splashed through the grass WRC style. This was immediately followed by a helmet palm (Just what every warm up lap should be like). The pressure was now building, but despite the look of the run, I was encouraged. My confidence had been restored as the car was transformed back to its normal state.
Qualifying lap 1. Sitting on the start line my train of thought was this. Deep Breath, run through my speed and line from the warm up lap and remember to scrub a bit more speed earlier and change my line slightly. I took off quickly and somehow managed to get through the switchback, held 100% throttle into the hairpin to extend and made it to the apex! The rest of the run was ok and I was stoked. The pressure was off for the second qualifier and I cannot recall if I bettered it, but it was another consistent lap and couldn’t believe my luck. Those two qualifying laps were the first two laps I actually linked the full judged section for the day.
I was quite chuffed to find out I had managed a 15th place out of 30 odd drivers, considering my expectations heading in to qualifying. It was now on to battles.
This shot is definitely on the lock stop! This shot is from one of my qualifying runs. For those asking, yes I am cheating, I use a secret modification called a rack spacer that gives me extra lock! (Welcome to 2004 i hear you say!) I will be discussing knuckles from a more philosophical view point in another post in due course.
My top 32 Battle was against Mo in the JAK Motorworks R32 Skyline. This car has run an incredible 9.8 second quarter mile so it is no slouch! We managed to time our battle just as the heavens opened so his extra power did not end up playing a part in the battle. At the start of the chase run I ran out of talent, misjudging the changing greasiness and cooked it. Congrats to Mo on the win. A funny side note to this battle was that I put my wipers on in between our two runs and the wipers stopped working. Some genius (me) had placed the go pro in the way of the wipers so they couldn’t move! You can see the location of the Go Pro just above the top of windscreen (above). Luckily Steve Kae on start line ripped it off for me.
Next up was the Wheeltech Extreme Entry comp and I needed no encouragement! My first lap just didn’t quite cut it and I remember looking at the judges giving the mediocre body language to them while i went through the hairpin, obviously still in my judging mindset and noting to myself I needed to hold in power even longer this time to increase angle in the wet conditions.
Lap 2. I held in power longer and hit the lockstop and held it there for a fair while I thought. I felt I was as sideways as I could get the car without more talent and practice, but didn’t think it was going to cut the mustard considering some of the forklifts being driven by amazing drivers. This shot by Rensmart Photography looks sharp in the wet weather. Love it!
Later in the day after watching some amazing battles by Pidwell, Agess and Klingberg, I was very surprised to be notified I had won the Extreme Entry competition! As a prize, Federal provided some RS-R tyres thanks to Wheeltech!
The afternoon expression session started in the wet after most of the competitors had packed up and fortunately I decided to head out for one last session. I really love driving in the wet and I was treated to one of the best drifting experiences of my life with Sean Power, Nathan Saunders and a couple of other drivers who wanted to maximise their driving time. The track was deserted, no one was watching, but we we just having a blast! Balancing throttle and dancing around lock to lock with Saunders and Power in my door was fantastic. I didn’t want it to end. I was able to experiment with some left foot braking during the session which was interesting also.
It was a great event and it couldn’t have happened without the VicDrift team, event sponsors, volunteers and spectators who came out and made it a fantastic event!
I would like to personally thank:
Ctrl It for their support
Wheeltech Wheels for their support and also lending me some great wheels for the event.
Waz at Garage Low for helping me get there.
My partner Mayumi for putting up with me in the lead up and applying stickers
Geoff and RJ for providing the tow car and taking care of the car maintenance and tyre changing for me, which makes a huge difference.
The great photographers who captured all these shots: JRM Photography, Zero Clearance.net, and Rensmart Photography!